By Tammy Goddard
During the holiday season, unfulfilled expectations can cause depression. We find ourselves without enough money, time, or energy to do all that we want to do. “’Tis the season to be jolly” quickly becomes “’Tis the season to be discouraged.” Here are seven ways we can stay “up” when the holiday season threatens to “pull us down.”
When you get up in the morning, decide to have a good day. Psalm 118:24, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Enjoy the beauty and the music of the season and share the message of the season. Dwell on what you can control instead of all the things you cannot.
The best way to dress up is to put on a smile. I Samuel 16:7c, “…for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” Wave and smile at neighbors. When my neighbors wave and smile at me, I think they like me, and I enjoy being liked: it makes my day. Decide to brighten someone’s day! Greet the checker at the store with a smile and spread some joy. Smile at your family. When you do, through that smile they will hear you say, “I love you! You make me happy.” A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your appearance.
Say pleasant, kind, agreeable words and learn to listen. Proverbs 13:3a, “He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life.…” There are three times we should learn to “shut up” if we want to stay up. First, we should “shut up” when we want to complain. I have yet to solve a problem by complaining about it; however, I have made it worse by dwelling on it and spreading the complaint to others who were perfectly happy until I pointed out to them a reason to be discontent. Another appropriate time to be quiet is when you want to criticize. Once you adopt a critical frame of mind, negativity will spread to every area of your life. Nothing discourages or disheartens a person like a negative, critical spirit. Lastly, if you would learn to “shut up” when you want to gossip, you would block one avenue by which discouragement enters your life. Gossiping is one of those deceitful activities that feels good at the time but leaves you feeling ashamed and discouraged with yourself after you have participated in it.
…for what you believe. I Corinthians 16:13, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”
KEEP YOUR BUDGET. Going into debt to buy things to impress people will only discourage you later—when you have to pay the bills.
KEEP YOUR STANDARDS. If going to worldly parties at other times of the year is wrong, then it is also wrong during the holidays. You must not compromise what you know the Bible teaches in order to please family or friends during the holiday season.
KEEP YOUR PRIORITIES. You must fight the temptation to use your tithes and offerings to buy gifts for friends and family. Don’t get so caught up in the holiday rush that you miss church services. If you want to stay up, you must stand up for what is right.
…for help.Psalm 121:1, 2, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” You must not get so busy that you miss spending time reading your Bible and praying. The Devil and the flesh work overtime during the holidays. Don’t drop your guard. If you will remember to look up every day, you will stay up all day.
…for comfort. II Corinthians 1:4, “Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” As I have already mentioned, the holiday season can be a depressing time—especially if we focus on ourselves. When life is out of control, reach up to God. Family issues, health issues, and financial issues can seem much worse during this time of year. The best way to get through a tough time is to reach up to Jesus for His comfort and share it with someone else who is struggling during the holidays. As you reach up, you will find the comfort and strength to stay up.
…prayers for guidance. This is a time to seek the Lord. We make so many decisions during the holidays. Let us pray for God to guide us in all our choices as well as the choice of gifts we buy and the way we spend our time. Pray for those who are alone for the holidays and ask them how you can help.
Philippians 4:6, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”